by Craig Borland

A THIEF who stole £300 from a shop in Dalmuir has been jailed for eight months.

Michael McElhinney committed the theft at the Shop Local store in Dumbarton Road on January 14.

McElhinney, 22, whose criminal record includes convictions for assault, robbery and threatening or abusive behaviour, appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Friday for sentencing on both the theft and a separate case in which he assaulted his then partner at an address in Dumbarton on December 10.

McElhinney pleaded guilty on April 11 to a charge of injuring his ex by seizing hold of her on the neck and pushing her against a wall.

And the presiding sheriff told McElhinney’s solicitor that because of the nature of her client’s record, he had “no option” but to jail him.

Fiscal depute Scott Simpson could only give the court a sketchy account of what had happened at Auchenreoch Avenue on the night of Decem-ber 9-10 because, he said, the victim of the assault had been “a reluctant complainer”.

Mr Simpson said McElhinney had been drinking with his then partner and her aunt the previous evening, and that nothing had seemed untoward until police became involved shortly after 3am.

He said: “Police information is that it related to an argument over a bank card and a mobile phone. That’s what police have pieced together and what the accused has accepted that he did.”

McElhinney, who was listed in court papers as being a prisoner at HMP Low Moss, was brought to the dock in handcuffs after being sentenced to five months in jail for a similar, but unrelated, matter at Hamilton Sheriff Court on April 14.

He initially faced a more serious charge of robbery and assault in relation to the Dalmuir shop incident, but this was reduced to one of theft.

McElhinney’s solicitor, Gail Campbell, said the assault had happened after an argument over childcare, and pointed out to the court that there were no previous incidents of domestic violence on her client’s record.

But Sheriff Gallacher told McElhinney: “Your record extends for years and you are in persistent breach of bail orders. In all the circumstances I have no option but the imposition of a custodial sentence.”